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Sunday, June 19, 2011

Sheep for sale

Too many sheep, not enough grass. It's time for a major flock reduction here. Since we started crossbreeding the Shetland ewes to BFL ram for market lambs we don't have enough grass for them all.
Plus I got 3 replacement ewe lambs from last Fall's breeding. These are purebred Shetland ewes that all have been born and raised here. Its a little atypical to breed for length and depth, but much more productive.

The ewes being sold are not culls, they are all productive, healthy sheep. Age varies from 3 - 8. All ewes sell with twin lambs alongside. Lambs have been banded on tails and testicles. The tails have fallen off. Except one late lamber which we havn't gotten too yet.

We have always bred for depth, length and productivity, with nice wool naturally following. All the ewes have long staple wool, still soft and processes up beautifully. All the ewes have lambed on their own. Once in a while I have to loosen an elbow on these xbred lambs if I'm around.

Price, I'm not sure how to price them. My idea is to sell a group of 3 ewes, 2 young ones and one older one, with lambs for around $800. Hopefully that's not too low. I see that the list is half older ewes and half younger. So a bunch with older ones will be a bit less. The lambs will pay them off in the Fall. I am negotiable on them also, preferring they go to an experienced shepherd. Total ewes to sell is 6.
Hershey - 7 year old with twins
Laura - 7 year old with twins, unbanded ram lambs
Clara - 3 year old with twins
Ginger - 2 year old with twins
Oreo - 2 year old with single
Skittles - 6 year old Shetland/Icelandic with twins. An amazing producer, her dam(Icelandic) has been our top producer in lamb weights, Skittles is quite round in the rib cage and less deep.

 White ewe in top photo is a 3 year old, Clara. She is doing an amazing job with her twins. One is almost her size already.

 Brown headed ewe with lambs behind her is 7 year old Hershey, one of the older ewes.

This black headed ewe is 2 year old Oreo, she is the only one who had a single. Packages including her will be less $.

Skittles with lambs.

Friday, May 27, 2011

hoop house !!

Here is what our new and revised cattle panel greenhouse looks like.
It is about 15' x 27'. Hopefully one day the wind will quit blowing and we can get the plastic on.
The cattle panels have their own curved shape that wants to sproing out straight. With the front wall being set up for a wind-up area for the plastic, we needed some good structure to keep the panels from pushing out straight. If we could have found the 20' panels we wanted, it would have been simpler. The door is on the east side, and we'll make some sort of window on the west end.

Hopefully I'll get some curtains made from this rowcover material so I can snug things up when a chilly night threatens. There are several tomato and pepper plants waiting for their new home. I think I'll direct seed the zucchini. Tonight I started a few seeds of Kazakh Melon. Its from Kazakhstan and should be suitable for short seasons !!

Plus I have a randow arrangement of row covers made with Agribon 30. One started out with wire wickets to hold the row cover up. The cats made short work of that, so I put in some small rebar hoops that we had. Another is a small Caterpiller Tunnel, the others are rebar hoops with row cover on them that is gathered and staked at the ends like the Caterpiller Tunnel. Then there is the patch of carrot and lettuce seeding that just has the rowcover 'dirted in' along the sides.

As you can guess, the row cover is new and exciting to me. A month ago when we had 24 degrees, the row of small broccolis under 2 layers of rowcover were cosy at 36 degrees !!

Inside the Caterpiller tunnel. The 4H kids practiced transplanting and got the lettuces and such planted !!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Beautiful February Day

View of our Winter garden ...

Agriculture Notes

After encouragement to advocate for Agriculture by posting ag related things daily on 'Social Media', I thought I would add the posts from Facebook on here. Just for your daily ag notes !!
I'll just put a few days worth in each post, and try to put a picture in once in awhile.

My contribution to being a voice for Ag. I just read and article in Progressive Farmer that encouraged everyone in Agriculture to spend 20 minutes a day informing the public. Maybe 2 minutes so y'all don't get bored : )

Friday - Today we sheared our sheep flock. The sheep do not have to die to have the fleece removed !! Shearing the sheep gives them a chance to be cooler in the coming warm days, we hope ! Plus we can inspect them eaier to see when they will lamb, l...ambs can find their meals easier, the ewes will seek shelter to protect them and their lambs when they are sheared. This is controversial as people who shear later in the year say the lambs just snuggle in the ewes fleece, sounds cozy !!

Plus, the wool gets converted into nice, warm yarn to be used to keep people warm. So there you have it, your lesson on the benefits of shearing sheep !!!
Comment from my friend Monica ...The rest of the story is if the ewes still have their fleece on when they lamb they don't give off body heat when the lamb lies next to them their fleece insulates them only. They also have no feeling in their fleece and are more likely to lay on their lambs thus accidentally increasing the mortaliy rate.Pretty interesting !!
Saturday - Ok, my ag moment for today started yesterday >> The broccoli, cauliflower and such is sprouting nicely in my countertop garden. They are planted a bit thick so I was thinning afew yesterday. As they piled up on the countertop, my thoughts were with the people of Japan...
It came to mind that sprouts of broccoli and such were first promoted as food from Japan and the Orient, which made me wish I had container ship loads of sprouts to send those people. But then, again, what do the sprouts taste like anyway, so I bit off a few of the leaf ends and ........ yum !!! A few bites of Cabbage sprouts, some celery and parsley, with a bit of onion sprouts on the side. My health food of the day. Pretty easy and quick food, relatively speaking.
Sunday - We have just broken several composting rules in the greenhouse !! 1. Add compost in the fall so it has time to breakdown. We just added it yesterday.2. Compost chicken manure for a long time before using. Just took the chickens out of the g...reenhouse last weekend.

This is the first time the chickens have been in the greenhouse, and the first time we've added compost in any great amount since we built it. I'll keep y'all posted !!!!!! Will anything grow ??
Monday - Ag moment of the day - While planting leek seeds today, i was struck that the plants to produce these seeds were started themselves 2 years ago. The leeks overwintered, then flowered the next summer, seeds collected at summer's end, cleaned, sorted, etc and packaged available for sale this year. That's some planning ahead !!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

How to Grow Onions from Seed - Vegetable Gardener

How to Grow Onions from Seed - Vegetable Gardener

This is a great tutorial on growing onions from seed !!
I learned alot from it and hopefully our onions will do better this year !!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Thinning Broccoli

Wow, stunned by the images from the Japan earthquake and tsunami. Just thinking about all the turmoil in people's lives today that wasn't there yesterday. Coincidentally I was watering the onion, broccoli and cabbage seedlings for this summer's garden. The land that got Tsumani'd may not be the best for gardening for awhile. Then noticed how the broccoli and cabbage need thinned a bit, so I pinched off a few from each part of the 6 pack. Absentmindedly I set the thinnings aside on the counter, then realized that they would be potential food in Japan, so I tasted them. Just bit the top leaves off and found out they were yummy !!

There is potential treats, onion thinnings, a bit of parsley and celery, topped off with broccoli sprouts. If only I could send a few trainloads to Northern Japan !!!!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Brussel Sprouts

Brussel Sprouts, the vegetable that amazes me.
Last year we grew 8 - 10 Brussel Sprout plants, ate lots fresh, gave a few plants away. That was fun since we left them on the stem for people. Most had never seen a brussel sprout plant before. The rest we put in the root cellar with the potatoes and carrots. Today I went down to get some more potatoes and carrots for dinner, and there was one Brussel Sprout stem left, so I brought it in. Granted, it was a big ugly. Some sprouts had a blackened outer leaf, and a few other designs. I cut the sprouts off and just peeled off the outer leafs until it looked edible. Then steamed them up and super good on the dinner plate !! March is the latest we've ever kept one, and this year, it worked !!